For the last few years, as the spouse of a Board member, I have been asked to act as scribe so that the person writing the minutes could fully participate in the Maryknoll Affiliate Board meetings. Thus I’ve had the privilege of observing the meetings while not participating. Would you like to hear what the “fly on the wall” has learned at these meetings?
“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him or her.”
Today we often hear, “We become what we eat.” Let’s take this seriously. When we eat the body and drink the blood of Christ we become the hands, feet, eyes, and ears of Christ.
“First you do what is needed, then you do the possible. Then the impossible will happen.”
Kitty and I were in Chipole, Tanzania, waiting for the rain. Very little rain had fallen for five months. Everyone was waitting to plant when the new moon was in decline and the rainy season had begun.
This year we brought our daughter Laura and her friend Jenny with us. It was their first experience in Africa, and it was a pleasure being with them as they experienced the Tanzanian people. Two years ago, many people prayed for our daughter Laura when she was sick with Goodpasture Syndrome, a kidney disease. Many sisters in Chipole prayed for her. I was overwhelmed when I saw some of the sisters hug Laura, telling her that they had prayed for her and were happy to see her alive.
“Formation is a work of Art, not a police action.”
Recently I read an account by Antonio Spadaro, SJ, of a conversation between Pope Francis and the superiors of men’s religious communities during their meeting in Rome, November 27-29, 2013. Much of their conversation about formation, charism, and mission within religious communities applies to our Affiliate communities.
“New” Affiliates in Lima have deep Maryknoll roots.
In his introduction, Raul Llamas, the coordinator, explained that the Niño Jesús Affiliados de Maryknoll work as a group with the poor, with drug addicts, with those experiencing family problems, and with the youth in the streets. “We are a community that formed to serve our neighbors.” Amelia stated that some of these people’s problems come because they lack faith. She hopes that those they serve will come to know Jesus in their heads and in their hearts.
[The editors asked Kathee Bautista, mother of Kimberly Bautista, to update us on Justice for My Sister. The Jan/Feb 2014 NSFA featured Kimberly’s film and Kathee’s Guatemala travels.]
Over the last 2 months, the Justice for My Sister organization has co-sponsored two workshops in Los Angeles on healthy relationships. Kimberly Bautista has taken the film to Mexico City and New York City. In addition, the Justice for My Sister campaign against domestic violence is moving through Ecuador. Kimberly will be traveling to Ecuador in late April to join the volunteers there. See their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/JusticeForMySister.
John Hernandez & Kathee Bautista – Los Angeles Chapter
Maryknoll Affiliates gathered at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress at the Anaheim Convention Center. Two attendees commented:
John Hernandez – On Saturday, March 15, several Affiliates gathered at the RE Congress. Los Angeles Affiliates present were Tim Moffett, Sister Kathryn Shannon, Irma Pazmino, Richard Perez, Kathee Bautista, Joe and Peggy Santos, and Deacon Leonel Yoque. Fr. Jack Moynihan, a Maryknoll Father who lives in the Bay Area, joined us. Fr. Jack is planning to attend our next meeting in Los Angeles, since he will be in town at the time, and we will give him time on the agenda to introduce himself to us.
Kathee Bautista – We had a great time at the Congress. I worked at the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers booth both Saturday and Sunday and met wonderful people while we distributed 380 to 400 of our fliers. We can expect to see a few new folks at our next meeting in Little Tokyo, including parishioners from St. Francis Xavier. We met several graduates from Maryknoll Schools worldwide who continue to embrace the Maryknoll spirit. Youth leaders expressed interest in immersion trips. We also made contacts with groups that might want to collaborate with us in the future.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond
... Your playing small does not serve the world.
... We are all meant to shine, as children do.”
The Greater Boston/New England Affiliate Chapter meets bimonthly to enjoy reflection, personal sharing, prayer, and a potluck meal together. About a dozen members include those who have served mission needs on their own or with other groups, as well as former lay missioners, sisters, and priests. Maryknoll brothers and fathers had attended until recently but have since moved elsewhere.
At our meeting this month, we reflected on Nelson Mandela and Jim Madden, MM, men who were not afraid to play big, as well as on personal models who saw our individual lights and encouraged our living full-out. But laying wreaths at the feet of others can beg the challenge to fill our own shoes. So we went on to reveal to each other ways in which we are playing small or are confronting fear and taking the risk to act powerfully.
“Good meeting” was the feeling all around.
Our Fox Cities-Wisconsin Chapter is active in various local and global activities, but we meet as Maryknollers only three times a year. This February we had an exceptional meeting. Only four of our six members were present, but the simple Easy Meeting format carried us through all the information we needed to share and enter into a deeper experience.
We honored the memory of our dear co-founder, Fr. Jim Madden, MM, following the Irish Funeral Prayer format. After “Touchdown”—sharing in a few sentences our most current concern, interest, or joy, we highlighted recent Maryknoll developments:
Take Care of the People
We have a small grocery store in our neighborhood called Abarrotes Don Chucho. Abarrotes are groceries; Don is a title of respect, and Chucho is a short name for Jesús. If you remember your Spanish you can translate the extenso surtido (great choice) they offer.
Love is a consciousness of belonging to another, of being part of a whole. To love is to be on the way toward integral wholeness, to live with an openness of mind and heart, to encounter the other-not as stranger-but as another part of oneself. When we enter into the heart of love, that integral wholeness of love that is God, we enter into the field of relatedness and come to see that we are wholes within wholes. This is the consciousness we need today, an integral wholeness of love that is open to new life; a being-at-home in love that can evolve.”
—The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution, and the Power of Love, Ilia Delio, OSF.
The most critical decision humanity needs to face in the first half of the 21st century is whether we will chose life or continue on the current path toward suicide for our human species and many other life forms.
If mission is going to continue past our lifetimes, we must reach young people, and young people live in the culture of social media.
Social media is a culture with its own language. As missioners, we must learn this culture and language, just as we learn the cultures and languages of peoples in foreign lands. That was the wisdom of the United States Catholic Mission Association conference held in St. Louis in October, 2013. Much of it is applicable to our Affiliate chapters and ministries.
I am sitting at my dining table on All Souls Day evening in the silence of my home, remembering with joy the time I spent in Santa Ana with a wonderful community of Maryknoll Affiliates. I want these memories to never leave my heart and soul. I am so thankful to have been part of this Affiliate mission pilgrimage to Guatemala. It was a time of prayer, forming community and being with those who are materially poor. We crossed borders to discover the meaning of mission spirituality, and we experienced walking with the poor by living among them in a simple mission house.
Dan Driscoll-Shaw – Chicago Central Chapter
Our Chicago Central Maryknoll Affiliates community has been blessed to share many times in one of the highlights and most significant experiences of all the Maryknoll entities, the Sending Ceremony.
Our most recent Sending Ceremony took place December 15, 2013. We blessed Merwyn and Kirstin DeMello as they go forth to begin a three-year commitment in Afghanistan with the Mennonite Central Committee.